A Real Job, What is Yours?

What does a real job mean to you?  I read this powerful message on Facebook the other day…

The other day, someone very dear to me said, “Charlotte, promise me this. Promise me you won’t go back to waiting tables, frothing coffees or tending bars. When you graduate uni, you’ll get a real job, won’t you?”
Hmmm. ‘Real’. What does ‘real’ look like? Does it wear a suit? Boast a briefcase? Does it drive a ute? Fly a plane? Is its hands dirty, or clean? Does it save lives, or suck the life right out? Does it do your dry cleaning? Keep our streets clean? Your coffee cravings at bay?
So many people chase ‘real’, the ‘real’ that seems to be etched into our skin by society’s blade, and find that they don’t belong to their own life.
The way we have been conditioned is a travesty. The pressure I am under, as a 25-year-old, to make decisions that will supposedly ‘make or break me’ is crushing. The truth is, there are no rules here. Success is highly subjective. It’s traumatising to measure your success against someone else’s, yet we do it to ourselves every day.
The person who said the above said it out of love, and I love them for that. I get it. They want to see me succeed, but under whose guidelines? They want me to move up in the world, but who sets the bar?
Whether you’re a barista or a barrister, university graduate or world traveller, business owner or garbage collector. It doesn’t matter! What matters is that you make the rules. It’s your life.
Take it back!

A Real Job can be Whatever you Want it to be

Charlotte May McLeod (@lottiemaymcleod) posted these words of wisdom in Australia in frustration for the situation she is in.  Well said Charlotte, good for you for recognizing that a real job can be anything we want it to be.  Students and parents alike today (over) focus on the pursuit of the perfect education in preparation for the equally perfect job upon graduation.  The problem is that a job deemed perfect for one person is often not even close to perfect for another.

Education is Important

Education is important, that will never change, but keep in mind that there are all kinds of education available to prepare you for your very own real job.  Remember that every job you take on is an education of sorts, even those that are not considered real jobs.  Many of these so-called, not real jobs open doors for exciting and lucrative opportunities.  By lucrative, I mean both financially and emotionally rewarding. Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

As Charlotte so eloquently stated, a real job can be anything you like these days, don’t settle for something that will please or impress anyone except yourself.

The speed of change, food for thought

The speed of change as predicted here is food for thought, interesting and scary at the same time!

This German author offers a peek into the future . . .
By Udo Gollub at Messe Berlin, Germany
Speed Of Change
In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt.
What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 year – and most people don’t see it coming. Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on paper film again?Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975.
The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore’s law. So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a long time, before it became way superior and got mainstream in only a few short years.
It will now happen with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs.
Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution 
Welcome to the Exponential Age.
 Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years. Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world.  Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.
 Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world.  This year, a computer beat the best Go player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected.
 Lawyers: In the US, young lawyers already don’t get jobs. Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans.  So if you study law, recognize that there will be 90% less lawyers in the future, with only specialists remaining. IBM Watson already helps nurses diagnose cancer, 4 time more accurately than human nurses. Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.
 Autonomous Cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars will appear publicly. Around 2020, the complete industry will start to be disrupted. You don’t want to own a car anymoreYou will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving. Our young kids will never get a driver’s license and will never own a car.
 It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95% less cars for that. We can transform former parking space into parks. 1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 100,000 km, with autonomous driving that will drop to one accident in 10 million km.
 We will save a million lives each year.
 Most car companies might become bankrupt.
 Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels. I spoke to a lot of engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; they are terrified of Tesla.
Insurance Companies: will have massive trouble because without accidents, insurance will become 100x cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.
 Real Estate: will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move farther away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood.
 Electric Cars: will become mainstream by 2020. Cities will be less noisy because most cars will be electric.  The need for fossil fuels will drop dramatically.
 Electricity: will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can only now see the impact. Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil fuels. The price for solar will drop so much that all coal companies will be out of business by 2025. With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water.
 Desalination now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter.
 We don’t have scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water. Imagine what will be possible if we can have as much clean water as we want, at almost no cost.
 Health: The Tricorder X price will be announced this year. There will be companies who will build a medical device (called the “Tricorder” from Star Trek) that works with your phone. It scans your retina, your blood sample and you breathe into it. It then analyses 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease.  It will be so cheap, that in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medicine, almost free.
 3D Printing: The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years. At the same time, it became 100 times faster.  All major shoe companies have started 3D printing of shoes.  Spare airplane parts are already 3D printed at remote airports.
 The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large amount of spare parts they used in the past. At the end of this year, new smartphones will have 3D scanning possibilities. You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoe at home.  In China, they have already 3D printed a complete 6-storey office building.  By 2027, 10% of everything that’s being produced will be 3D printed.
 Business opportunities: If you think of a niche you want, ask yourself: “in the future, do you think we will have that?” If the answer is yes, say to yourself, “How can I make this happen sooner?” If it doesn’t work with your phone, forget the idea.
And any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st Century.
 Work: 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a short time.
 Agriculture: There will be a $100 agricultural robot in the future.Farmers in 3rd world countries can then become managers of their fields instead of working all day on their fields. Hydroponics will need much less water. The first petri dish produced Veal is now available and will be cheaper than cow produced Veal in 2018. Right now, 30% of all agricultural surfaces are used for cows. Imagine if we don’t need that space anymore. There are several startups which will bring insect protein to the market shortly. They contain more protein than meat. It will be labeled as an “alternative protein source” because most people still reject the idea of eating insects.
 Truth or Lies: There is an app called “moodies” which can already tell us the mood we are in.
 By 2020 there will be apps that can tell by our facial expressions if we are lying.
 Imagine a political debate where it’s being displayed, if they are telling the truth or not.
 Longevity: Right now, the average life span increases by 3 months per year. Four years ago, the life span used to be 79 years, now it’s 80 years. The increase itself is increasing and by 2036, there will be more than a year in longevity increase per year. So we all might live for a long, long time, probably over a 100 years.
 Education: The cheapest smartphones are already costing $10 in Africa and Asia. By 2020, 70% of all humans will own a smartphone.This means, everyone has the same access to world class education

Ignite the spark, a new idea in education


Recently I attended a talk entitled “Ignite the Spark”   It was presented by two high school teachers who believe students that exercise before class increase their attention span, improve their grades, improve their fitness level, decrease absenteeism as well as suspensions, and lower depression rates.  They have put this theory to test in several high schools in the Ottawa area by implementing a short exercise period first thing in the morning or at lunch time.  Sessions can be held right in the classroom and do not have to involve any special equipment.

This makes complete sense to me as a mother of three boys.  Boys are notorious for short attentions spans, especially in the early school years.  I remember years ago that my brother failed grade one, along with 6 other six-year-old boys.  I’m positive it was because his middle-aged female teacher could not relate to or handle little boys.  When my sons were in primary school, I helped out in their classrooms.  One day I arrived to a grade two class to find the substitute teacher in tears because one of the students spilled paint on her silk blouse.  The students were sitting at their desks with their heads down on the desk in punishment.  The teacher was very young, perhaps 25, but again, no experience handling small children.

Both of these experiences show that teachers have to find a way to relate to their students.  The best way to get students, especially young children, to perform at their best is to exercise their brains so their strengths are optimized.  Sitting in a classroom all day with no physical activity is the fastest way to slow the children down both mentally and physically, preventing them from reaching their full potential.

Igniting their spark sound likes a healthy alternative to me, promising great results for teachers and students.

A valuable lesson on the power of education

Recently I was invited to attend a leadership conference put on by the Ottawa Carleton District School Board of Education. Between the keynote speakers and the breakout sessions, I learned an awful lot…

The first keynote speaker we were introduced to was Zita Cobb from Fogo Island, which is the largest off shore island of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.  Zita Cobb grew up on Fogo Island in a culture that believes that nature and animals know everything, with seven seasons celebrated each year.  Cod fishing was the sustainable way of life for generations of island dwellers until the 1960s when large English and Polish ships helped deplete the supply of cod, closing the fisheries and forcing many of the islanders into poverty.  The fishing industry has since been revitalized on Fogo Island with the addition of new organizations and laws, modern technology and fisheries harvesting shrimp and crab as well as a new generation of cod.   During the economic downswing, Zita’s father urged her to leave the island to further her education and broaden her horizons.  She did so, and was very successful in the technology world, but the early lessons learned on Fogo Island remain ingrained in her personality and outlook on life.  She shared with us that she has learned that a formal education is not the only form of education.  Elders in a community have their own ways of knowing how to do the right thing for its people and the planet without a formal education.  Money should not be the only measure of success; the amount of joy in a community or culture should count too.  Her passion and wisdom have returned to Fogo Island to create the Fogo Island Inn, a modern masterpiece complete with 29 stunning guest suites, each boasting a spectacular view of the shoreline and sky, as well as a cinema, restaurant and library.  Her new foundation called Shorefast was established to keep the economic future of Fogo Island looking bright.

A second keynote speaker was Gabrielle Scrimshaw, a young aboriginal woman who left her small town in Northern Saskatchewan hoping for a better life for herself and increased understanding for her people.  Living off the land in a society filled with rampant sexual abuse in residential schools, by a mother suffering from substance abuse and a father travelling to support his career as an artist, Gabrielle struggled to survive, as most indigenous children do.  Motivated by a talk at her school by a friend of her teacher, she left that life behind her, the first person in her family to attend university.  She spent years travelling and learning from inspirational people she met along the way.  Today, as the indigenous population grows in Canada, she hopes to teach the rest of the country that many of these first nations descendants can help shift their economy with increased education and a sense of pride.  This successful motivational speaker had her audience in tears with her sad, yet inspirational stories, receiving a standing ovation for her accomplishments and achievements at such a young age.

Both of these women gave powerful speeches, a valuable lesson stressing that all forms of education are instrumental in motivating the best leaders of the present and future.  As Gabrielle noted, we must “create good footprints so we can walk in a good way.”  Please take the time to follow the links to read more about these two amazing and powerful women!

Executive Coaching

Executive coaching is a specific type of training and education for managers, supervisors and other high ranking staff members, something that is crucial for their development, yet often overlooked due to the cost, negative perception and time involved. This type of training allows individuals to progress from the position they currently hold to where they want to be or where their employer needs them to be within an organization.  This personalized training turns individuals that have been deemed to have high potential into successful and effective leaders with greater responsibilities.   It is also effective for leaders undergoing a restructure or other major change within their organization.

Although executive education is most often designed to improve performance within an organization, it can also result in personal growth, job satisfaction and contentment for the individuals involved.  This is due to the fact that executive coaches encourage self-discovery so clients can ultimately strive towards their individual professional goals.  For this reason individuals often sign up for executive education themselves when dissatisfied with their careers.  In these cases, the training sessions would be geared towards the specific needs of the individual.

Executive training strategies include field experiments, powerful and thought provoking questions, feedback, progress reports, assessments and homework all within the coach’s specific field of expertise whether it be psychology, sports or business. To be effective, coaches should be well educated, experienced and certified within their field, with a credible and confident personality.  In general, executive education programs last from six months to a year in length, typically with one to two hour sessions per week.

Of course, competence of the coach will not matter if the executive in question does not want to or feels they do not need to change.  This is often the case in restructuring “fall out.”  To be successful for both the individual and the organization,  the candidates for executive education must be totally committed to change, willing to face and accept both positive and negative feedback.

Unfortunately some employees feel they do not need executive training because they feel it is perceived as remedial or punishment, due to a quality lacking in their personalities.  This misleading conception is most unfortunate since the most effective and successful CEOs are in tune with the strengths and weaknesses of their companies and its employees, especially the higher ranked ones.   A misguided sense of power resulting in self-absorption can be extremely detrimental to any organization.

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Executive Coaching


Hiring an executive coach to train the employees that show the most potential in an organization, enabling them to take on more responsibilities, may possibly be the smartest move a CEO can make.  An individual looking to improve their own position in the workplace, perhaps even dissatisfied with their own performance, can also benefit from executive education.  Executive coaches are also beneficial for employees in an organization whose internal personnel structure has changed or reshuffled.  Regardless of the circumstances under which executive training is sought after, and for whom the training is designated for, the process is similar.

Executive education or coaching is simply specialized training for individuals in the business industry to improve their chances of success in different, usually higher, positions within an organization.  Coaching provides the individual with the opportunity to set goals, develop skills, and therefore enhance their overall performance.   The process involves assessments, specific exercises, feedback, progress reports,  thought provoking questions and assignments, typically in one or two hour sessions over a span of six months to one year.

Executive coaches are certified, experienced, well-educated and respected in their field of expertise.  They must also possess an open, honest, and trustworthy personality to ensure the success of the training program for which they are hired.  The specific goals and needs of the individual trainee must be addressed to encourage self-discovery and the ultimate success of the executive training exercise.

Some individuals may be threatened by the request that they attend executive education, treating it as remedial action or feeling singled out by upper management.  They may not recognize the fact that this form of training can be extremely beneficial to both employee and employer, or may not feel they need the training involved.  Unfortunately, this type of employee, regardless of where they sit in the ranks of the organization, will probably not benefit from executive education unless they improve their attitude and commit to change, permitting acceptance of both positive and negative feedback.

The most successful CEOs recognize and make the most of the varied and individual strengths and weaknesses of themselves as well as their employees.  These CEOs acknowledge that personal growth and job satisfaction for all employees are very important elements in a successful organization that must be maintained from the top down.  To deny or ignore this fact by failing to provide the required executive education can be severely detrimental to any organization.

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